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2020 NABJ Elections Committee Decisions
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2020 Elections Committee Decisions

Dear NABJ members:

The NABJ Elections Committee is composed of six organization members who represent all age groups, all parts of the industry and all corners of the country. I am appointed by the president and I, in turn, proposed committee members who, based on my research or experience, I knew to be non-political, able to make objective decisions, able to understand fairness and able to think critically.

In making all of our decisions, we have reviewed not only what has been the practice of previous administrations, but also the Constitution, the Election Rules and NABJ's Operating Procedures. Last week, we devoted a page on NABJ's website specifically to Elections Committee decisions. This was done for purposes of transparency, which we believe is important.


Melanie Eversley
Elections Committee Chair

 



April 29, 2020: Elections Committee Statement

The NABJ Elections Committee extends best wishes to all the candidates for the Board of Directors. We encourage all of the candidates to practice civility and make sure any statements they make during their campaigns are factual. Our panel believes in letting the election process play out and does not desire to insert itself into ongoing campaigns, but we have been placed in the position of addressing recent statements that misrepresent committee actions. Please note that full and accurate explanations of committee decisions are always available here: https://www.nabj.org/page/2020ElecDecisions

Our committee asserts that:

-- There is no requirement that the current committee agrees with decisions made by a prior committee. The committee chair and the committee have abided by all rules and regulations, even exhaustively so, and we have been transparent about our activities. Committee members were proposed for their ability to focus and work outside of what some may view as NABJ's political establishment. Committee members represent a range of ages, geography and parts of the industry. The committee bases its decisions on reviews of the NABJ Constitution, Operating Procedures, Election Rules, consultation with current and former parliamentarians, consultation with the previous Elections Committee chair, former guidelines and debate among committee members. The panel includes one current and one former parliamentarian and two millennials. No decisions have been made that contradict the Constitution, Operating Procedures or Election Rules. In our view, decisions based on all of the above demonstrate that the committee did not "make the rules up" in a recent decision. In fact, hours of deliberation were involved. It is the prerogative of the committee to issue decisions based on all of the above. 

The committee did not issue a ruling favoring a candidate who allegedly enjoys advantages. The facts:
-- The candidate's campaign is not funded by NABJ. The candidate played a leadership/consultant role in the convention and would have had their convention expenses funded.
-- The candidate cannot access NABJ listserv data.
-- The candidate will not oversee campaign forums. This is the job of the Elections Committee.
-- The candidate was not the president's campaign manager, but was an adviser.

We will not engage in back-and-forth, but we will step in to correct inaccuracies about Elections Committee activity. If any member ever has any questions about elections or the process, you may always contact me.

Melanie Eversley
NABJ Elections Committee Chair
electionchair2020@nabj.org

April 15, 2020: The Elections Committee rejected a request by Treasurer candidate Ernest Owens to disqualify his opponent, Walter Smith-Randolph. Owen's maintained that Smith-Randolph's role as convention programming cochair affords him an unfair advantage because his convention expenses are paid for and his visible position amounts to free publicity. Owens maintained Smith-Randolph's convention role amounts to a conflict of interest. Owens also said that Smith-Randolph's other roles within the organization afford him free publicity. The committee maintains that the situation involving Smith-Randolph's convention role is the same as the role of a board member or even NABJ president running for office while he or she fills a position of high visibility and attends the annual convention with expenses paid. The committee also believes that it would be harmful to punish members for working to support the organization. The committee recommends that Smith-Randolph add his convention role to his campaign profile on the NABJ website for purposes of transparency.

April 15, 2020: The Elections Committee rejected a request by Treasurer candidate Walter Smith-Randolph to disqualify his opponent, Ernest Owens, on the grounds that Owens' NABJ activities since 2018 have afforded him an unfair advantage in terms of visibility. The committee reached this decision for the same reasons as its decision in Owens' complaint against Smith-Randolph's candidacy.


April 8, 2020: The Elections Committee upheld its decision to reject a certification application from NABJ member Dorothy Bland, who was seeking to run for Academic Representative on the Board of Directors. Bland's submission arrived late. Bland maintained that it took 15 minutes for her application to file successfully. The committee asked NABJ to investigate activity on its website in the hour before the submission deadline. Web staffers could not find definitive proof of technical delays with Bland's application.

April 8, 2020: The Elections Committee upheld its decision to reject a certification application from NABJ member Johann Calhoun, who was seeking to run for Vice President/Print on the Board of Directors. Calhoun's submission arrived late. Calhoun maintained that a technical glitch with the NABJ website prevented him from filing on time. He later indicated that he'd submitted Captcha and telephone area code details incorrectly. The committee asked NABJ to investigate activity on its website in the hour before the submission deadline. Web staffers could not find definitive proof of a technical glitch delaying Calhoun's application.

 


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